So, it’s back to the routine for Fall Quarter with 4 weeks until the next set of tests. All of our course classes are the same and continuing right where they left off. Some new additions include two new labs: Physical Diagnosis and Physiology. The other change is our religion class. We are beginning a new course called God, Humanity, and Medicine with Dr. Rice (it’s likely you read or will read something written by him). Religion class this quarter also takes place in the mornings, 9-10 am Tuesdays and Thursdays (that means one less lecture on those days!).
Oh and on a side note, this week we went to a rodeo since Janna’s dad was volunteering as a physician. Going to a rodeo was definitely a unique experience. It was like the LA County Fair with less games, more horses, and way more danger–kind of like a fair for the Wild West grown ups. Every other person dons a cowboy hat and speaks with a southern drawl. Oh, and we were the only Asians (mistaken for Koreans) within a 10 mile radius of the rodeo. Nonetheless, the experience was super fun. Typically, entertainment involves watching musical prowess or acting abilities on the big screen. However, the rodeo displays talents of a different nature: we saw men clinging to bucking bulls (one guy was rushed to the ER), horses sprinting across in time trials, and BMX bikers performing flips.
Ok, ok, now for the information you have been waiting for. There is the big debate of whether college courses are “worth it” for med school. YES (note the caps). We had heard some people say that college courses only transfer to about a week of med school, but we are still seeing topics from our college classes 6 weeks in. And, if anything, being ahead for one week of med school is worth it. So here are the college classes we have found helpful if you are wondering what to take in college or what to go back and review.
- Our general biology series at PUC with Dr. Wong, Dr. Ness, and Professor Wyric was very tough, but it established strong foundations. Information from the first and third quarters have already shown up in med school.
- On top of general biology, we highly recommend systems physiology from Dr. Vance. For the most part, there have only been a few additions (diseases, a new concept or two, and some additional details) to what we learned in college. But, having even a vague idea of the topics will help you categorize the new details.
- Histology from Dr. Vance has also been extremely helpful. Simply the vocabulary and some familiarity with random pink bundles (possibly collagen type I fibers) and dark, blue dots (probably DNA, RNA, or ribosomes since they are made out of RNA) keeps us from freaking out in histology lab. If anything, it helps you learn how to look through a microscope with two eyes (which was quite a feat for Janna).
- Anatomy. Do yourself a favor and at least take Dr. Duncan’s basic anatomy (Janna didn’t). Anatomy is fast-paced with tons of rote memory. Having an idea of at least the names of the bones and muscles in the body will be super beneficial. Anatomy is supposed to be one of the “easier” courses (since a lot of the questions relate to University of Michigan’s online questions that we study from), but lectures are definitely overwhelming.
- Advanced anatomy would probably teach you everything (and more–insertions and origins aren’t required material) that we learn in med school besides some of the clinical applications. We say probably because we both audited the class our last quarter of our senior year, so we listened in class, but didn’t exactly study. But, a lot of what we are learning in med school we vaguely remember from Dr. Duncan.
- Communication Research was also a surprisingly useful class (for Janna-Comm major). Besides communicating with patients and colleagues, the class’ emphasis on data analysis and statistical interpretation was relevant. The information shows up in a few lectures from the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) class.
- Chemistry: The general chemistry series provided a good background, but to better prepare for med school take as many quarters of biochemistry that you can fit (Anthony took all three quarters and the lab. Janna took two. So far, we haven’t applied too much from the third quarter lab).
- Miscellaneous: Organic chemistry and physics are on the MCAT so learn it well for that, but it hasn’t applied too much to med school. Medical microbiology hasn’t helped yet, but talking to second years, we are pretty sure it will come in handy next year (except only Janna took it, poor Anthony).
Of course, it’s also important to remember to enjoy your time in college. So try and take these classes if you have time, but remember to spend time relaxing as well–cause in med school, free time tends to be a little more scarce.